Volunteer shortage spells end for Pink Ladies hospital café

| 11/10/2016 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The challenge of running the George Town hospital coffee shop as a volunteer organisation has proved too much for a local charity, as the number of volunteers over the last few years has fallen sharply. This December, the Pink Ladies will be brewing up their final cups of coffee at the café, which has provided a fundraising source for the charity and low-cost cups of tea and buns for visitors, as well as a trolley service around the hospital for patients, for more than 35 years.

Jane Moon, the charity’s director, told CNS that the growth of the café and the number of volunteers now needed, at a time when people are finding it harder and harder to commit time to volunteering, means they can no longer run the coffee shop. Moon said that this was something that couldn’t be fixed with cash because it was about ‘hands on deck’ and there is simply no longer enough available. When the Pink Ladies shut up shop, the premises will be given back to the Health Service Authority and offered to a commercial organisation to run as a full business.

The Pink Ladies charity was founded in Cayman in September 1980 by Olive Miller and Evelyn Andersen.

In February 1981 the Pink Hibiscus Coffee Shop opened as a means of fundraising for the charity and a welcome service for people using the hospital. Back then, the facilities were small, with room for just two ladies to serve and space for just a few customers, with the meals prepared at home and donated by the ladies. In 1987 it moved to the current premises and became a much bigger operation, though still manned by volunteers. But in 1997 they took on paid staff and the business grew, with the Trolley Service starting in 2003.

Moon said the decision to close had been extremely difficult and not made lightly but the business had outgrown the small charity. The steady downturn in the number of ladies available to offer their free time has fallen from more than 20 in the café’s heyday to no more than half a dozen now, making it impossible to operate the business given everything that goes into running a commercial entity.

“It has been our pleasure and an honour to offer our service to the staff, patients and visitors of the hospital for 35 years and we are most grateful to the numerous volunteers who have assisted us, the customers who have supported us and our hard-working team of employees,” the ladies all said.

However, this will not be the end of the Pink Ladies by any means, and they will be hosting the Annual Christmas Tea and Bazaar on Saturday 3 December from 2-5pm. Tickets are now on sale for $5, which includes the delicious Pink Ladies tea and Christmas entertainment, activities and shopping.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow I can’t belive these people to have the gall to say such false and mean things, the ladies work along with everyone and they are hard working, the mop, the clean,empty garbage in every area they work along with us, please that story is false.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why wasn’t there an article written on this and calling for volunteers BEFORE it was too late? I work in a coffee shop and would have gladly given some of my time for this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you get some of the non-violent and white collar criminals at Northward to give back something to society. I hardly think the likes of Simon Courtney, Robert Aspinall and Canover Watson to name but a few of the recently incarcerated are threats to the public and are more than capable of performing some civic duties.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Surely there are plenty of sufficiently qualified, willing and able Caymanians who could volunteer?

  5. Anonymous says:

    There are now many, many organizations on the island doing great work. The problem is that the volunteers pool is spread thin. I hope others will step up to the plate. Every able-bodied member of society should try to do some sort of volunteer work. Thank you Pink Ladies!

  6. Coffee Shop Lover says:

    Having read this article I cannot help but feel sad to even entertain the thought of closing this much needed coffee shop in the hospital. Many have been positively touched by the warmth of the volunteers and the excellent service provided. I sincerely hope that we can source some other volunteers so the closure does not happen. I join with many who say this will be sorely missed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations and a big “thank you” to the venerable Pink Ladies Corps for their vision and long service at the Pink Hibiscus. My late mother was a member of the Pink Ladies and it is truly an honourable organization.

    Mrs. Olive Miller, should be recognized as a National Hero for her many contributions to our society. Some of those previously bestowed as such (mostly politicians) did not contribute to strengthening our social fabric as Mrs. Miller has done! Thank you “Miss Olive”!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    There is so much i would like to say, but to make a long story short, the Pink Ladies caused this on themselves. They have priced themselves of out business majority of the HSA staff order in lunch from outside or bring their own meal. The white volunteers take the easy chores and left the sweeping, mopping, unpacking of goods etc to the black volunteers. I saw this day coming.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you knew the cost of rent, general expenses and salaries paid to those who were not volunteers, you would show a little more respect for the years of unpaid faithful civic duty undertaken by the pink lady volunteers.
      Putting up with the rudeness and ingratitude of some of their customers made saints of them all….thank you ladies.

    • East End Resident says:

      This comment makes me so mad. Really? You have to make a racist comment about everything? Perhaps this attitude is why it can be hard to find volunteers willing to work together.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, that’s racist.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, it’s racist but that is Cayman today and it is being fed by politicians whose names I won’t mention because I suspect CNS won’t print them. Born Caymanians good, Paper Caymanians bad, Everyone else even worse..

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a disgusting human being and have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would not wast my time volunteering for anything to help the ignorant people like you. You and your kind do not deserve to be helped.

  9. Anonymousn says:

    I will miss them.

  10. Marathon says:

    Would a last minute recruitment drive save the Hospital cafe I wonder?

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